Automotive Tips

The Basics about Belts and Hoses

Technician_Car_1Belts and hoses perform many jobs in your vehicle’s engine, and more than one part is often affected if they fail. The Car Care Council advocates inspecting engine belts every 3 months or 3,000 miles and hoses every 6 months or 6,000 miles for signs of wear and tear. Setting aside time a few times a year can ensure your vehicle stays road-worthy.

Most modern vehicle engines use the serpentine belt, rather than multiple V-belts, to power various components under the hood. The alternator, water pump, power steering pump, and air conditioner compressor all rely on the serpentine belt to function. Hoses like radiator or coolant hoses transfer antifreeze throughout the vehicle’s engine and radiator. Belts and hoses weaken, crack, and stretch after prolonged use, and they lose the ability to expand and contract due to heat, mileage, and age.

When a serpentine belt fails, it can affect the vehicle’s power steering as well as the electrical charging system and cause the engine to overheat. Many times, these belts fail from the inside out so it can be difficult to determine their true condition. When you examine under the hood, look for the following signs of wear and tear:

  • Cracks and fraying on the top cover of the belt.
  • Glazing on the belt’s sides.
  • Separating layers, cracks, or missing chunks of the grooves on the underside.

Like the serpentine belt, a coolant hose often degrades from the inside out. A visual inspection may detect some signs of wear including:

  • Cracks, nicks, bulges, blistering, a collapsed section, oil contamination, or fraying.
  • Parallel cracks around bends, hardened glassy surfaces, and abrasive damage.

When these hoses fail, your vehicle’s cooling system will not work and the engine may overheat. According to Consumer Reports, experts recommend hose replacement every 4 years or when showing signs of wear.

Inspecting your vehicle’s belts and hoses and having them replaced before they fail can prevent inconvenient breakdowns and costly repairs. To help, Jiffy Lube offers engine services with serpentine belt replacement that includes the following:

  • A visual inspection of the serpentine belt.
  • Removal of the old serpentine belt and installation of a new one.

Any high pitched screeching sound or vibration noises could indicate that the serpentine belt is loose and warrant an inspection. Please call your local Jiffy Lube service center to ensure serpentine belt replacement is available at that particular location before stopping by.

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